Saturday, December 19, 2020

Asparagus and Gruyere Quiche


For Thanksgiving morning I wanted to cook up something special for my family. Little did I know how unbelievably good Gruyere cheese is! LOL Jack liked it too, in very small nibbles, of course!

The first step was creating the Press-In Crust (page 17). I stirred together tapioca flour (I searched but couldn't find any oat flour), all purpose flour and salt. Then drizzled in melted butter and ice water. Mixed well by hand and pressed into the pie pan. For this crust I needed to par-bake it for about 10 mins before adding the filling. 

Next I set the oven to 375 and started the filling, bending each asparagus stalk in half at their natural breaking point. Then cut the top halves in half. I went ahead and cut off any harder stalk ends. 

In a pan, I heated up some olive oil and added the asparagus, julienned yellow onions, salt and pepper. Then cooked, stirring occasionally, until the onions were soft and asparagus turned bright green. Which only took about 5 to 7 minuets. Important, remove from heat and let cool. You do not want to put hot veggies into a cream/egg mixture.

While cooling, I whisked together 4 eggs and 1 cup light cream in a separate bowl and seasoned with salt and pepper. 

Next was Jack's favorite part, sprinkling the Gruyere cheese on the bottom of the crust. He watched with anticipation...of course I gave him a nibble! 
Then I added the now cooled asparagus and onions with a bit of thyme over the crust. Then I poured the egg mix over the top and added the remaining cheese, sprinkling the delicious shavings all over. I don't know why I was surprised, but it was starting to look like a real quiche!  I set this good lookin quiche into the over and baked from about 25 minuets. 
Checking to make sure the top was a golden brown and custard set I removed the pan and set aside. There is was, the first quiche I have ever made and it was perfect! 
This quiche had an old-world flavor. True to what I think Theresa Carle-Sanders was trying to achieve. It was simple yet rich and cheesy. Totally savory, scrumptious and satisfying! My family loved it and the quiche was gone in seconds. 

Thank you Outlander Kitchen for another amazing meal! Happy Holidays!


Monday, November 30, 2020

Jerry MacKenzie's Time-Traveling Pasties

Hello Lovelies! 

The Outlander Kitchen Cookbook: To the New World and Back Again has some truly wonderful recipes that I wanted to try out. First being the Time-Traveling Pasties! Filled with chicken, turnip and potatoes they seemed like the perfect little treat.

Starting with the dough I mixed 2tsp of salt and 4 cups of flour together, creating a 'well' in the center. Then I poured in 3/4 cup melted butter, 1 cup warm water and an egg into that 'well'. Mixing by hand I carefully transformed the contents into a thick dough, ready to be kneaded!

For some reason dough always seems complicated to me, but this didn't take any time at all. After I kneaded the dough into a smoother ball, I wrapped it in plastic and placed in the fridge to chill out for about an hour. 

While waiting for the dough, I started preparing my filling. Dicing up a potato and turnip. Shredding a carrot, chopping some fresh parsley and soaking one luscious leek. Which I found out was an important step because a fresh leek is covered in dirt!
After soaking in cold water I halved the leeks and added them to the rest of the filling, along with 1 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper. For the meat eaters in the family (I made a few without) I diced up a pound of boneless chicken thighs.
On a floured surface I rolled out my chilled dough and cut out three 7-inch circles. Placed about a 6th of the filling in each center, making sure each pasty had equal parts chicken, potato and turnip he he! Then after wetting the top edge of the pastry I brought the top to meet with the bottom and pinched. Creating a little crescent pocket.
With a sharp knife I made three little cuts on each side, to let them vent while baking. Then I repeated these steps for the remaining dough and filling. Once all my tasty pasties had been filled I wrapped and placed them in the fridge for 30 mins. Again, this helps the dough set and properly bake later on. While you wait, set the oven to 400 degrees and move the rack to the upper-middle rung.
After their fridge time was up I whisked up an egg and 1tsp of water to brush over the pasties. This got a tad messy but I knew they would taste even more delicious!
Once brushed I set them in the oven to bake for 35 to 45 minutes. Checking after about 30 to see their progress and they were already turning golden brown. After giving them an additional 5 minutes I pulled them out to cool. 
Voila! Beautiful golden pasties! Now they did not look as perfect as they do in the cookbook, but they were pretty close! 
These little creations are like rustic hot-pockets...hoooot pooocket! Sorry not sorry!

 These pasties were not exactly decadent, however I really liked the flavor of the leeks and potatoes. The chicken definitely added extra flavor to the pasties. Creating a very earthy rich flavor! Their simplicity really makes them great for a quick bite too. Little handheld snacks, both filling and delicious.

After finishing these up I started to think about what else I could add to them! I bet some bacon would go over very well! 



Monday, June 22, 2020

Savannah Clam Chowder

Morning Loves! 
I'm so excited to start sharing recipes from the brand new Outlander Kitchen Cookbook! This continuation of hearty historically driven dishes draws inspiration from the New World that Jamie and Claire find themselves in. There are so many yummy meals to try! 
I wasn't sure which to start with but a marvelous opportunity presented itself. My mom suggested we come for a visit to celebrate my dad's birthday and fathers day, which are close together. He has always preferred home cooked meals, much to my teenage dismay, so I thought it would be fun to surprise him with a home-made treat! I settled on Savannah Clam Chowder!
Clam Chowder is so far from what I usually try to attempt so I thought it would be a great challenge. One new experience presented itself quickly, I had never actually ordered anything from the deli counter, let alone purchased 4 pounds of clams. I felt like a real wifey...should have had a kerchief tied around my head to keep my freshly curled hair in place. Besides my new vintage 50s wife fantasy, all other ingredients were easily found and I was on my way toward Chowder dominance! Let's start this journey...
 For the first step in making chowder, you need to prep the clams. Add clams and two cups of water to a dutch oven type pot, bringing them to a boil. The shells should open in about 4 to 8 minutes. Go ahead and discard any that do not open. Side note, don't be swayed by their salty smell and sandy goo, fresh clams are the best choice. It really made a difference taste wise. Also, 4 pounds sound like a lot but the weight is mainly from its shells. 
Transfer the clams to a pot using a slotted spoon and filter the excess water through a cheese cloth and save, adding in fresh water to equal about 6 cups. Once the clams cool off, go ahead and pull the meat from their shells and set aside. If the clam meat is large just chop into more bite-sized pieces.
While waiting for the clams to cool, I went ahead and prepped the other ingredients for the chowder. Chopping up 1 large onion, 2 stalks of celery, 8 ounces of salt pork and about 2 pounds of yellow potatoes.
In the cleaned dutch oven, cook the pork until golden and transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Pour off any excess fat from the pan, leaving about 1/4 cup in the pan to cook with. Add the diced onions and celery, cooking until onions are translucent and golden. When the pork was ready to remove I didn't have a lot of grease left but the veggies cooked well anyways, so don't fret.
Next stir in 1 minced garlic clove, 1 tablespoon fresh thyme and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper. My dad doesn't like too much spice so I was pretty light handed with the pepper. However I served Craig's with a great deal more sprinkled on top. 
After stirring for about 30 seconds add in 1/4 cup of flour, stirring for 2 minutes. This is when you add the clam broth/water you had saved, 2 bay leaves and the diced yellow potatoes. I chose to use little potatoes that wouldn't need to be peeled. They also cooked much quicker. After adding in the clam broth I was nervous that the soup would be...well...too soupy. But the water cooked down a little and the potatoes added much needed starch. 
Bring soup to a simmer over medium heat and let cook for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. I checked the potatoes by sticking them with a fork, if they fall off, you are good to go!
After removing the bay leaves, add in the salt pork, 2 cups of light cream and most importantly the clams! Finally right!? Stir the chowder and increase the temperature until the soup is 'piping hot'. Do not boil. Season with salt and pepper, as you like, and you are ready to serve. Voila! Home-made clam chowder!
The Outlander Cookbook shows the chowder in two rustic bowls which is just lovely but I thought it would be even better to serve the chowder in sourdough rolls! Before you ask, no I did not make the sourdough but I did think about it he he! This little detail really turned out nicely.
Okay, not to brag but my dad was impressed with my chowder skills! Thanks to Theresa Carle-Sanders I served a wonderfully rich lunch that reminded him of past trips to the east coast! It was simplistic but not overpoweringly creamy and really let the ingredients speak for themselves. The salt pork was the main note, cutting back on the brininess of the clams, but the thyme brought an earthy flavor which was really nice. Such a great treat! My dad didn't even mind the hint of spice! 
The only negative will be pandora's box that I just opened. He's going to expect more of these home-cooked meals now he he! 
Thanks for readin!
Cheers, Bunny

Monday, May 25, 2020

Drunk in Luv

Hi there! 
Santa Cruz is heating up so I grabbed some watermelon for the Sakara Drunk in Luv Cocktail. So refreshing and yummy!
For this drink you will need: 1 cup of watermelon juice, a few pieces of cubed watermelon, 1 shot of rum, ice and some fresh mint. Luckily I had everything except the watermelon. Tip for picking out a top-notch melon, give them a quick knuckle tap and listen. The more hollow they sound the better. 
Once you have everything, place your watermelon cubes, mint and ice into your glass. Then stir together the watermelon juice and shot of rum. Pour that mixture over the ice, mint and cubes. 
Voila! A refreshing lightly sweet cocktail for those hot summer days!
I went ahead and made some more to share, Jack supervised!
Cheers Luvs!

Friday, May 8, 2020

Ragoo'd Pork

It's Dinner Time! 
After going through the Outlander Cookbook I wanted to make something savory and a bit different than what I normally lean towards. Which means something meaty LOL! I thought that Craig would appreciate a good meat dish, so I settled on the Ragoo'd Pork, and boy was he happy!
Alright, let's get started! First we need to prepare the meat. Not my favorite part of cooking, but it had to be done to satisfy the meat-a-saurus in our family he he.
The recipe calls for 4 to 5 pounds of boneless pork shoulder cut into 6 or 8 pieces. Don't worry about size variations of each piece, you will end up shredding the tender pork.
Next sprinkle 1/4 cup of flour, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper into a pan. You will then dredge the pork pieces in the flour, cover all sides.
In a large pot, or whatever kind of Dutch oven/stock pot you have, melt 1/4 butter over medium heat. Once the butter is bubbling place half of the pork pieces into the pot to sizzle. Leave space in between the pieces and cook until all sides are browned. Move cooked pieces to a plate and repeat with the remaining pork.
While you're cooking the pork, gather up 2 sprigs of thyme, 2 bay leaves, 1 rosemary sprig and 1 strips of lemon zest for your seasoning/garnishes. You will want to enclose these items into a tea ball or small cheese cloth. Set aside for now. I love that the cookbook calls them a bouquet garni, so cute! Next, once all meat has been cooked and removed, it's time to create the stew. In the same pot add 1 large chopped onion (julienned preferably) and scrape up any browned meat bits. Stir constantly until the onions are a golden color. Then add in 1 tbs tomato paste and stir for about 1 minute. Pour in 1 cup of red wine, to dilute the meat sediments, and bring to a boil. Then add 1 cup of chicken stock, 3 garlic cloves, 1 tbs Worcester sauce and all pork pieces. 
This is when you will add your bouquet garni. Sadly I had neither a cheese cloth or tea ball, so when it was time to plunge them into the stew and then remove, I just picked the pieces out. This didn't detract from the overall taste wheeew! Then reduce heat, cover and let the stew simmer until the meat is tender. This takes about 3 hours.
After you have waited FOR-EV-ER, remove the bouquet and skim any fat from the stews surface. Shred the pork pieces, 2 forks are actually the easiest way. Congrats you have created a delicious hearty ragoo'd pork! 
I went ahead and made some wheat pasta to accompany the ragoo, much like the Italian version of this dish. It's a little funny to create something that I don't intend on eating but my thrill comes from trying something new and pleasing someone's taste buds. In this instance I also got pasta and our kitchen smelled delicious! Craig's take, "the ragoo is authentic, hearty and satisfying. Pairs well with some more red wine! With dinner a success, thank you Theresa Carle-Sanders, this recipe also yielded some tasty leftovers.
In case you were curious, Jack pretty much slept through most of this process LOL! He was a bit disappointed that the pork wasn't for him.
Cheers, Bunny

Monday, May 4, 2020

Strawberries Romanoff

I was perusing my cookbooks, because ya know quarantine, and came upon an intriguing and quick treat, Strawberries Romanoff. I found it funny that the instructions only made up a 1/2 page in the dessert section of the Commander's Palace Cookbook. Yet they were straight forward and easy to follow. All I needed to acquire were strawberries and some cream, I already had everything else!
Recipe calls for: 
24 Very Ripe Strawberries
2 Teaspoons Sugar
8 Scoops of Vanilla Ice Cream
2 Cups Heavy Cream, whipped
and 4 Ounces of Triple Sec/Grand Marnier
To start my Strawberries Romanoff, I cut up 20 strawberries, leaving 4 for garnish, and crushed them in the sugar with a fork. The juices soaked up the sugar creating a slight jam.
Then I added the whipped cream and ice cream, folding them all together. The Commander's Palace does have an ice cream recipe but we already had some vanilla bean in the freezer, begging to be eaten. I'll have to try making my own someday. 
Instantly the mixture resembled a soft cloud with streaks of pink and red. So pretty! *Be sure to whip your heavy cream beforehand, you want those soft peaks to formLastly, and most importantly, I mixed in the Triple Sec. For plating, I spooned the cream into wine glasses and garnished with my biggest strawberries! Voila!
OMG...guys...I created something....dreamy! Straight from the Commander's Palace Cookbook to my mouth! This fluffy divine creation was sweet and creamy. Each strawberry adding a tart flavor to the vanilla ice cream. The addition of Triple Sec took the dessert to another, more adult, level as well. Straying far from our usual chocolate chip cookies. I was so excited to have something new to devour, so was Craig!
Cheers to such a perfect treat!

SAKARA: French 69

Bonjour Lovelies!
I hope you are doing alright, during our extended quarantine. I can't believe it's already May and we are still sheltering in place. So surreal! Santa Cruz has been getting hot too, so I wanted to make something refreshing yet lush he he! The Sakara Cookbook has a few specialty drinks but the ladies have been sharing new ones, thank goddess, mainly through their S Life virtual Mag. One of their new cocktails, the French 69, looked delish' and perfect for a hot afternoon! 
The Sakara Life take on a French 69 is pretty simple: 1 part Vodka, 1/2 part St. Germain, muddled mint and Prosecco. Thankfully I had all of the ingredients, except fresh mint. So after masking up and grabbing some I was all set! 
*Of course, don't forget to serve in your most French looking glass.
As simple as this drink was, it did not disappoint. The mint and St. Germain was light and I really loved the splash of bubbly, so good! I'll definitely make this one again.

À tout à l’heure! -Bunny